Maryland, like the rest of the states in this country, has very strict laws regarding underage drinking, especially with driving under the influence (DUI). Maryland has a "zero tolerance" law for underage drinking that prohibits anyone under the age of 21, a minor, from consuming alcohol. Any person under the age of 21 who is stopped and found to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.02 or greater is in violation of Maryland's "zero tolerance" law.
Understanding Zero Tolerance
Minors can be arrested for DUI if it is determined that their BAC was 0.02 or higher. (Note: DUI BAC for individuals 21 years of age and older is 0.08.) Minors can only be charged with "per se" DUI if submitting to a breath or blood alcohol test that returns a BAC of 0.02 or higher.
It is never recommended for someone under the legal drinking age to submit to a breath test if you have had any amount of alcohol. Police officers will sometimes arrest underage individuals if they reasonably believe the minor is operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Minors who have been arrested for suspicion of DUI must hire an experienced attorney in order to achieve a favorable outcome.
Consequences of a DUI for Minors in Maryland
For a first-time DUI offense, a minor will have their driver's license suspended for six (6) months, face up to a $500 fine, and possible jail time up to two (2) months. If within a five (5) year period of the first DUI conviction, the minor will have their driver's license suspended for one (1) year in jail, and subject to a fine ranging from $500 to $2,000.
Maryland laws for underage drinking and driving are very strict because legislators want to avoid teenager-involved car accidents as best they can. Minors are more likely to be involved in drunk driving-related motor vehicle accidents because they are relatively new drivers who do not yet fully understand the dangerous effects alcohol has on their body and the impact that has on their ability to drive.
Take Action If You're Facing an Underage DUI Charge
It is important that minors in Maryland know the laws regarding drunk driving. If you have been arrested for a DUI as a minor (under the age of 21), it is important that you consult an experienced Maryland DUI attorney immediately because DUI is a criminal offense and carries potentially severe penalties.
An experienced attorney can guide you through the court process and find any possible defenses that can either mitigate the penalties in the case, or in some instances, lead to an acquittal or dismissal. Find out how Portner & Shure can help by calling us at (410) 995-1515 or (301) 854-9000 or completing the form on this page.